7 CFR 785.3 - Annual certification of State mediation programs.
To obtain FSA certification of the State's mediation program, the State must meet the requirements of this section.
(a) New request for certification. A new request for certification of a State mediation program must include descriptive and supporting information regarding the mediation program and a certification that the mediation program meets certain requirements as prescribed in this subsection. If a State is also qualifying its mediation program to request a grant of Federal funds under the certified State mediation program, the State must submit with its request for certification additional information in accordance with § 785.4.
(1) Description of mediation program. The State must submit a narrative describing the following with supporting documentation:
(i) A summary of the program;
(ii) An identification of issues available for mediation under the program;
(iii) Management of the program;
(iv) Mediation services offered by the program;
(v) Program staffing and staffing levels;
(vi) Uses of contract mediation services in the program describing both services provided by contractors and costs of such services;
(vii) State statutes and regulations in effect that are applicable to the State's mediation program; and
(viii) A description of the State program's education and training requirements for mediators including:
(A) Training in mediation skills and in USDA programs;
(B) Identification and compliance with any State law requirements; and
(C) Other steps by the State's program to recruit and deploy qualified mediators.
(ix) Any other information requested by FSA;
(2) Certification. The Governor, or head of a State agency designated by the Governor, must certify in writing to the Administrator that the State's mediation program meets the following program requirements:
(i) That the State's mediation program provides mediation services to covered persons with the aim of reaching mutually agreeable decisions between the parties under the program;
(ii) That the State's mediation program is authorized or administered by an agency of the State government or by the Governor of the State;
(iii) That the State's mediation program provides for training of mediators in mediation skills and in all issues covered by the State's mediation program;
(iv) That the State's mediation program shall provide confidential mediation as defined in § 785.2;
(v) That the State's mediation program ensures, in the case of agricultural loans, that all lenders and borrowers of agricultural loans receive adequate notification of the mediation program;
(vi) That the State's mediation program ensures, in the case of other issues covered by the mediation program, that persons directly affected by actions of the USDA receive adequate notification of the mediation program; and
(vii) That the State's mediation program prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and marital or familial status.
(b) Request for re-certification by qualifying State. If a State is a qualifying State at the time its request is made, the written request need only describe the changes made in the program since the previous year's request, together with such documents and information as are necessary concerning such changes, and a written certification that the remaining elements of the program will continue as described in the previous request.